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Can You Car Camp At Yosemite National Park?

Can You Car Camp At Yosemite National Park?

Yosemite National Park is one of the most popular and beautiful national parks in the United States. This park has a lot of visitors every year, and it can be really hard to get a campsite! This fact has a lot of people wondering: can you camp in your car at Yosemite?

The answer to that question is yes, but it’s more nuanced than you might think. 

In this article, we’ll take a deeper look at sleeping in your car in Yosemite. Learn where you can do it and can’t… and what might happen if you get caught breaking the rules!

Let’s explore!

Are You Allowed To Sleep In Your Car In Yosemite National Park?

You can sleep in your car or RV at Yosemite as long as you are in a campsite that you pay for. You cannot sleep in your car at Camp 4 in Yosemite, because Camp 4 is a walk-in campsite. 

Yosemite doesn’t permit sleeping in your car along the side of the road, at visitors parking, trailhead parking, or at backpackers campgrounds.

car camp at yosemite
You can sleep in your car in Yosemite, but make sure to reserve and pay for your spot first before drifting off to dreamland.

Can You Sleep In Your Car At A Campground?

Yes, you can sleep in your car in a campground in Yosemite if it is a campsite that you reserve and pay for. The only exception is Camp 4 because it’s a walk-in campground. 

Car camping in Yosemite is allowed, but only if you pay for a campsite like everyone else. 

Pro Tip: Camping in your car can be convenient or sometimes necessary. Read more to learn about: How To Camp Out of Your Car, Legally.

Why Would You Want To Stealth Camp In Your Car Anyway?

There are many reasons you might want to sleep in your car! Sleeping in your car is much more comfortable than sleeping on the ground in a tent. And, during some seasons, it can be more comfortable for temperature regulation, too. 

Finally, sleeping in your car can provide an additional sense of security for those who feel fearful of sleeping outdoors. 

car camp at yosemite
Stealth camping in your car can provide an extra sense of security.

What Happens If You’re Caught Sleeping In Your Car?

If you’re caught sleeping in your car at Yosemite National Park, you could face some pretty hefty fines. And you could be kicked out of the park! 

Since there are places to legally sleep in your car at Yosemite, there is no need to try and break the rules and face fines or expulsion from the park.

Did You Know: More than 5 million people visit Yosemite National Park each year? Here are 11 Free Yosemite Camping Spots You’ll Love!

car camp at yosemite
There are legal places in Yosemite where you can sleep in your car, so don’t try to stealth camp elsewhere.

Do You Need A Reservation To Car Camp In Yosemite National Park?

Yes, you need reservations for all car camping in Yosemite National Park in 2021. Yosemite is an incredibly popular national park, and with COVID, the park has employed a reservation system for all camping. 

Camp 4 offers a next-day lottery system, but you cannot sleep in your car at this campground. And, since it’s a lottery, I wouldn’t bet on scoring a site!

Is Sleeping In Your Car At Yosemite Worth The Risk?

Aside from the risk of getting fined by a park ranger for sleeping in your car in an unapproved area, Yosemite is home to some smart and pesky wildlife, like black bears. 

Bears are known to break into cars in Yosemite, and you’re at more risk for a wildlife encounter when you camp outside designated campgrounds. 

If you can’t get a reservation in Yosemite and want to sleep in your car, leave the park and find legal free overnight parking nearby!

Discover the Best Free Camping Across the USA

To be honest with you, we hate paying for camping. There are so many free campsites in America (with complete privacy).

You should give it a try!

As a matter of fact, these free campsites are yours. Every time you pay federal taxes, you’re contributing to these lands.

Become a FREE CAMPING INSIDER and join the 100,000 campers who love to score the best site! 

We’ll send you the 50 Best Free Campsites in the USA (one per state). Access the list by submitting your email below:

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